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How much does it cost to paint a car?

There are two ways of changing the color of a car which are predominantly popular right now: wrapping and painting. We have had an article in which we have walked you through the most interested questions about wrapping like what is the cost of wrapping? What are the pros and cons of wrapping? etc. And we think that we should have another article about painting so that car owners who are interested in painting their cars a different color will get the hang of this method. In this comprehensive guide, we will take the distinct pleasure of giving you answers to some key questions arising around painting: what do you need to know before painting your car a different color? How much does it cost to paint a car a different color? and what notes should you take after your car is painted? Now, let’s rock!

What do you need to know before painting your car a different color?

It’s a common knowledge that if the old paint is peeling off or it has worn out, you’ll need to repaint it. Yet, don’t rush. Before deciding to get your car painted, there are crucial things about painting that you must know.

Painting a car a different color has never been cheap

Different mechanics will offer you a different price if you wish to repaint your car based on the size of the car, the paint quality or the skill level. However, there is one thing in common. Painting is a costly job. For high-end cars, the cost of painting could be up to $10,000. So when you surf the Internet to seek the answer to “how much does it cost to paint a car?”, keep in mind that it will cost quite a big sum of money.

It can’t be undone once your car is painted

Once you choose a color and tell the mechanic to paint your car with it, it can’t be undone. You can’t tell them to rip off the paint layer and replace it with another one. It’s permanent. Any attempt to remove the paint cover would cause bad damages to your car. That’s why you should take serious consideration about which color you’re going to choose.

It won’t look as good as the original paint

There is one fact that you will have to cope with when you get your car repainted. Your car will not look as good as it did before despite the fact that painting it will increase its aesthetic appeal. The reason for this slightly disappointing fact is that the factory paint is hard to come by, it’s the result of scientific research and tests on different types of surfaces. This task requires financial strength while hardly is every body shop capable of. That’s why when painting they apply the same shade all over the car while it’s supposed to apply differently on different surfaces. This is an important thing that you need to consider along with the cost of painting a car.

Painting a car a different color could be inappropriate

The look of your car for sure goes downhill over time and so does your car. So besides caring about upgrading its appearance, you should also take a good look at the current condition of the car. If your car is not in a good condition and it could stop working at any time, then you may have to rethink about improving its look. It’s not a smart decision to do that as in the future you will definitely end up buying a new car then why do you have to waste a large sum of money on repainting the old one. However if your car is still working properly, it’s just its coat that needs bettering then it’s a different story.

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It takes time to get the painting job done

Painting is a lengthy process. It requires quite an amount of time to deal with the old paint layer as the new one can’t be applied directly to the old one. It also takes time to smooth the surface to deal with dents, scratches or gouges so that the new paint layer will look the best. That’s not to mention the painting time. So if you decide to get your car painted, you should know that it’ll take at least one week to get the work done. Preparing a backup plan of transporting is highly recommended in this case.

o Hiring a professional is recommended

Painting a car is not just simply spraying your car with the paint. Not only does it require preparation steps to make sure that after the paint job is done the car will look the best but it also requires tools and skill to get the job done. So if you are going to paint your car yourself, you should watch some videos or visit some websites providing comprehensive guides on how to paint a car yourself to see whether you can do it or not.

How much does it cost to paint a car a different color?

As mentioned above, you can infer that you can paint your car by yourself or get someone to do the job for you. The price, therefore, is different. In this part, we will bisect the question into two smaller ones: how much does it cost to have a professional paint a car and how much does it cost to paint a car yourself to make it easier for you to choose the suitable way.

P How much does it cost to have a professional paint a car?

The cost of hiring a professional to paint your car varies depending on the quality of the paint, the size of the car, the condition of the car and the location where you live. For a sedan-sized car which doesn’t need additional repair, you can get your car painted with a budget ranging from under $500 to $600 but the quality is worth the price, you can’t expect a good result. If you are affordable and willing to spend $1,000-$3,500, then you can expect a better paint job quality and a quite deal of attention given to the job. And to get your car a new coat of showroom quality you will have to spend at least $5,000 or more. If your car is not a sedan, you should expect the cost to be higher or lower.

P How much does it cost to paint a car yourself?

When you decide to do the paint job yourself instead, the cost would be different. You will not be charged with labor cost, but you will have to spend time, effort and money also to purchase tools. The total cost of painting a car yourself (including the cost of tools) on average could range from $300 to $1,500. This price is also for a sedan and the paint quality is medium, if you have a larger car, the price will increase as you will need more paint. And remember to do the job in a well-ventilated place where dust and debris can’t badly affect the paint job.

What preparations should you make if you wish to paint your car yourself?

For those who feel confident to paint cars on your own, we will give you some tips to help you do the paint job yourself, starting with what preparations you should make to paint a car on your own.

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If you are going to paint the car on your own, then first you should prepare tools. You will need to have these following things inside your gadget box:

+Spray gun or paint sprayer

+Random orbit sander

+Portable air compressor

+2000-Grit wet and dry sandpaper

+Rust remover spray

+Masking tape

+Body filler or Glazing putty

+Primer and primer thinner

+Automotive paint and paint thinner

+Cleaning solvent

+Respirator mask and safety glasses

+Nitrile gloves

+Paint suit

+Inflatable paint booth

After you have prepared all the tools, you will need to find a roomy space which is well ventilated to do the job.  And remember to cover the whole place with plastic cloth or something so that the paint will not stain anything during the painting process. When all is well prepared, let’s get down to business.

How to paint a car on your own?

How to paint the car on your own? This is the second most interested question that many people ask after they have found out the answer to the question “How much does it cost to paint a car in a DIY way?”. Well there are a lot of steps you will need to follow to provide your car with a good-looking paint coat. Before rolling up your sleeves and doing the job, remember to wear a paint suit, nitrile gloves, respirator mask and safety glasses as the paint job is very dangerous.

Step 1: Remove rust, dents and trim

After making all the necessary preparations, you need to remove rust, dents and trim off the car’s surface. This will enhance the effectiveness of the paint job. If you do not take this step, the paint will make these defects more noticeable.

Step 2: Sand

Sanding your car is fundamental as it will provide your car with a smooth and even surface so that the paint can adhere to. You can sand it by using circular motions, bare metal or the original primer. From our experiences, using bare metal to sand your car will produce the best result.

Step 3: Clean

In this step you can use a rag moistened with denatured alcohol or mineral spirits to wash your car. This will help to remove the oil residue off the car’s surface so that the paint job can give it best performance.

Step 4: Tape

Mirrors, window trim, glass, door handles and grills aren’t not the parts to be painted so you need to use masking tape (or newspaper) to wrap them up so that the paint will not be sprayed on them.

Step 5: Prime

In case you sand your car’s surface to bare metal, you should use a corrosion-resistant and self-etching primer to prime its surface.

Step 6: Allow primer to cure

Should you have to remove rust off your car’s surface, you should apply enough primer to the areas previously covered with rust and remember to follow the instructions written on the container.

Step 7: Sand once more

After the surface has been primed, sand the surface again but in a gentle way so that the metal surface will not be exposed.

Step 8: Wipe down

Immerse a rag slightly with thinner then use it to wash the prime surface.

Step 9: Paint

Provide your car with three or four paint coats. Normally, it will be a 20-minute break between each paint job. And to paint your car most efficiently, you should keep the gun spray 6 inches away from the surface and use a side –to-side sweeping motion to make sure that the paint is spayed thinly and evenly. One more notice, remember to sand the surface one more time then wipe it with a clean rag before spraying the last coat.

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Step 10: Apply lacquer.

Apply a clear coat lacquer in the same way that you apply the paint coats.

Step 11:  Remove the masking tape

You should do this while the coat is still wet and then leave it alone to dry following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 12: Buff

This is the final step. After having taken all those steps, you should buff out the whole painted surface. You can use a rubbing compound to attain a glossy finish.

What notes should you take after your car is painted?

Whether you decide to choose to paint your car yourself or hire a mechanic to do it after doing some research on how much it costs to paint a car, there are certain things that you must take note of after the paint job is done.

1.Do not wash your car in one month after finishing the paint job. The paint coat will be ruined or even washed away.

2.Cut down on the times you use your car in the first month. If there is no emergency, do not drive your car. It needs time to fully set.

3.Say no to parking your car under trees as it may badly affect the paint coat.

Author’s view

As promised, we have provided you with the answers to three key questions about painting: how much does it cost to paint a car? What do you need to know before painting your car? and what notes should you take after your car is painted. We hope that they will be useful to you when you take painting into consideration. As a final remark, we advise you only do the paint job on your own if you are truly confident with your skills or else you may worsen the look of your car.


Is it legal to change the color of your car?

It’s legal but there are some things you must do beforehand. First you need to check the color of your car in the RC book and then take the color shade sample along with the RC book to the RTO office to get the approval letter. If you get the approval letter, then you can change the original color of your car. But remember that after the process of changing is done, you will have to drive your car to the RTO and bring along the approval letter to get your RC book-entry edited. A small fee may be charged.

Does changing the color of your car decrease its value?

It does only if the paint job is done poorly. But if the paint job is done well, it’s an advantage to ask for a higher price when you want to sell your car.

Is repainting a car worth it?

We have blurrily mentioned the answer to this question above. If your car is in a bad condition then it’s better to get the thought of repainting it out of your mind. However if your car is still performing well then repainting it may be worth the money as your car is equipped with a brand new look.

Is it cheaper to paint your car the same color?

Yes, it is as it will require less layer of paint than painting your car a different color. In addition, there are parts that do not need painting if you paint your car the same color such as: door jambs, engine bays or trunk opening.

How long does the paint last?

On average, the paint remains its best look in five years and it can last forever if your car is taken good care of and it is painted by a prestigious body shop.

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